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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 24, 2011 8:18pm-9:00pm EDT

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presidential campaign to kick around as long as possible. and later, a bizarre twist in the republican fight against unions. forget benefits, bargaining rights. now maine's governor is going after a mural. a mural. because he thinks the mural just might be pro labor. [oman ] welme back, jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage, while sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong.
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with zyrtec®, i can love the air®. newt gingrich has said the following solemn words three times -- until death do us part. he didn't mean those words the first two times. so most of us, especially newt gingrich's wives, have learned to never take him seriously the first two times he says anything. when he appeed on fox news march 7th, the serial adulterer on his way to becoming a republican presidential primary
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loser made it very clear, very clear wa he would do about the uprising in libya if he were commander in chief. >> exercise a no-fly zone this evening. we don't need to have the united nations. all we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we are -- we're intervening, and we don't have to send troops. >> all we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we're intervening. couldn't be clearer. when newt wants to be clear, really, you've got to hand it to him. he does make it simple and clear. this is what he clearly said yesterday on the "today" show. >> let me draw a distinction. i would not have intervened. >> even newt, a serial self-contradictor, felt funny about that one. funny enough that he went to his facebook page six hours later to deliver what he called "my
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position on libya." his third and maybe final position on libya said "the president should have moved immediately to consult with congress to implement a no-fly zone, while also making it clear the u.s. would welcome involvement olution of newt gin "washington post" columnist dana mill banc. thanks for joining us tonight, dana. >> hello, lawrence. >> dana, can you walk me through the, pardon the expression, logic of newt's statements on libya? >> well, newtonian logic, as you know, wlarns, is lawrence, is a exceedingly difficult subject of study. so to help out your viewers i've actually drawn a venn diagram so we can try to piece together what newt is doing. as you see, he's got to get himself from march 7th, the clip you played, exercise a no-fly zone this evening, to 16 days later saying "i would not have intervened."
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what does he do? you read the facebook version. this is a shortened version from twitter, which itself is just a beautiful piece of rhetoric. "given choice use allies, not americans. after obama march 3 says gadhafi has to make sure he goes. obama change the choice." well, that obviously straightens everything out here. except the problem is he says "use allies not americans." but in the first place in that clip he said no, no, no, we shouldn't use ally yous, we should just be the americans. obama changed something on march 3rd. but the original newt statement was on march 7th. so that part of it is out too. and then he says obama changed the choice by moving it to a humanitarian mission. but of course according to that clip you played newt himself was talking about a humanitarian mission. so we've got some problems. but apparently, if you play the statements backwards on a turntable it will all come clear. >> oh, okay. now, does newt run any risk of
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having anyone on a presidential campaign primary debate stage as in command of his positions as you are? is there anyone up there who will actually be able to track these kinds of inconsistencies and throw them in newt's face? >> i think michelle bachmann is up to the task. she will be there to do it. look, newt is -- let's give it to him. he's a very smart guy. he's so smart that most of the rest of us immortals can't understand what he's doing at all. so unless you actually have somebody to go back through the archives and say hey, wait a second, newt, 16 days ago you said something completely different, it sounds like he's got the next brilliant idea. the problem is he's got so many brilliant ideas they're toppling over each other and not always making a whole lot of sense. but i think bachmann can set him straight. >> now, the current front-runner in the polls for the republican nomination, mitt romney, who this show's official position is he will lose to tim pawlenty, but romney's big problem is
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flip-floppi flip-flopping, that he's flip-flopped on health care. he did obamacare in massachusetts before obama even had the dream of doing obamacare. and so how can he run against obamacare without being accused of being a big flip-flopper? and now here's newt stepping into flip-flopper territory that he was supposed to just leave to romney. everyone was supposed to just let romney be the flip-flopper. big mistake for newt. >> well, the problem is everybody wants a little bit of that flip-flop action. you've got pawlenty, who admits to the flip-flop on climate change. you've got haley barbour who actually had done some lobbying for mexico for amnesty and now obviously has changed that position and suggests he never did it in the first place. so clearly a lot of people looking for the flip-flop role out there. the idea is -- of course, everybody changes their position over time. the idea is to try to do it so that nobody notices. >> now, mitt romney had
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something to say about the president's operations in libya. he said without a compass to guide him "in our increasingly turbulent world, he's tentative, indecisive, timid, and" that worst of all possible things, "nuanced." has romney found his voice on libya with that definitive statement? >> it's a devastating indictment of the policy. look, i mean, everybody, commentators of all stripes have been all over the lot here. obama's going too quickly into libya, too slowly, he should have allies, he shouldn't have allies, he should have gone to the u.n., he should not have gone to the u.n. but i think when romney's looking for something to pull out and he he says yes, the president has been nuanced, which of course is exactly what you would wish for somebody to do in a difficult situation, he's got himself in a difficult position, but mitt romney has to know nuance because he has to explain his health care position. >> dana milbank, columnist for the "washington post." thanks for going all high-tech for us on your graphic display
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there tonight, dana. >> my pleasure. coming up, we can now use michele bachmann and presidential exploratory committee in the same sentence and milk it for all it's worth. what she's saying and not saying about a run for the white house. and maine's crazy governor wants businesses to feel more comfortable when they visit the state's department of labor. so first thing he's doing is moving a mural that honors the labor movement. because nothing upsets a maine businessman more than seeing paintings of people who actually do the work.
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screen legend elizabeth taylor was laid to rest today, one day after her death from congestive heart failure. the private service was held at forest lawn cemetery, with about four dozen family members in attendance, including her four grandchildren and -- four children and ten grandchildren. elizabeth taylor converted to judaism before her wedding to eddie fisher in 1959, and custom dictates burl within 48 hours of death. a public service in her honor is expected at a later date. tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. the marquees of broadway theaters will dim for one minute to honor elizabeth taylor, who was nominated for a tony for her performance in "the little foxes" in 1981. still to come, the gift that
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keeps on giving. michele bachmann's talking about a presidential exploratory committee. and the governor of new york is worried about nuclear power. very worried. he wants to close the nuclear power plant closest to new york. that's in the "rewrite." [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. premier of the packed bag. you know when to hold 'em... and how to fold 'em. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above and still pay the mid-size price. here we are... [ male announcer ] and there you go, business pro.
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... gives you 24-hour relief. & one mission. two ingredients heartburn solved. not breaking news. congresswoman michele bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. she plans to file papers for the committee in early june with an announcement likely around the same time. cnn broke that today, offering no sourcing for that little tidbit. and bachmann's office spent the day equivocating about her potential plans. but bachmann did then post the cnn story this afternoon on her facebook wall with the comment "read a little something on
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cnn." here's what bachmann said on des moines radio -- on a des moines radio show this morning. >> i'll be making a decision about whether or not i will be a candidate by sometime this summer because i think it's important that a candidate participates in the iowa straw poll. >> now, there is so much to say about michele bachmann that i must not say right now because i like the rest of the media would love to see michele bachmann run for president. love it. she will lose, of course, and she will make every other reblican candida lk even reiduls an thewere gog nyway ju bngn e meta with them. so i don't want to say anything here. not a. delusion that she is an incredible candidate for president of the united states. instead, let's preview what we
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might have to look forward to in a bachmann for president campaign. >> instead of a leaner, smarter government we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which light bulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 irs agents in charge of policing president obama's health care bill. >> you may know that the president of china is named hu. his name is president hu. and with all the money that we owe china, i think we might rightly say, hu's your daddy. >> grandma isn't shovel-ready. >> i think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forebears, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country. >> what i love about new hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for
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liberty. you're the state where the shot was heard round the world. at lexington and concord. >> joining me now is dave weigel, political reporter for slate and an msnbc contributor. thanks for joining us tonight, dave. >> thank you for having me. >> dave, what can i do? what can i possibly do to help convince michele bachmann that she should indeed run for president? >> just keep playing clips of her. i don't see many actions taken by michele bachmann that are not geared toward getting more coverage in the media. in any media. she relished when politico and other organizations made fun of her for completely missing which state the shot heard round the world was fired in. it was in massachusetts. she said they're still the state that -- new hampshire is the state where they're still proud of it. and she kind of -- similar to the way sarah palin does, used that as more grist for this mill that she has of proving that she's the candidate who irritates people in the media the most. or the politician.
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i shouldn't say candidate yet. >> how worried about establishment republicans if there are any of them left in this world of the tea party, that michele bachmann will actually get in this thing and of course not win a nomination but get up on a debate stage and just wreak havoc? >> there's a lot of i guess grim laughter i heard today. if you asked a consultant if they were going to work for michele bachmann they laughed and looked for another subject to talk about. no one thinks she can win but only one person wins a presidential nomination contest and there's always one candidate or two candidates who bring everyone over to their center of gravity. in00tom tancredo ran tancdo, by the way, di't run a ge cpaign. bamann raised$13.5 million when she ran for congress last year. bachmann has more pull. tancredo ran and everyone was forced into his position on immigration which had a lasting effect on the rest of the campaign. john mccain, who was very good on that issue, lost more hispanic voters than any
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republican since '96 probably because of that. so there's a little bit of worry, what will she do that changes the way we talk about, this not just us but in congress i think it changes things if the only member of the house running for president is michele bachmann and reporters get to needle john boehner and eric cantor and paul ryan on the thing michele bachmann just said in south carolina or in iowa. >> so you're giving the notion that on a republican debate stage the way this could work is michele bachmann could say one of her crazy things and the romney, pawlenty types up there will not take her on directly, they'll just assume she's not going to win this election, so i don't have to be seen fighting her directly on this stage and what i must not be seen doing is in any way trying to shoot her down because i'm looking for people who actually think michele bachmann's okay? >> well, it's not clear. we keep hearing that one candidate or another will try and find a path to the moderate vote and try to win the 35% or 40% of the vote in the primary by getting moderates.
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but the pattern -- certainly everything that's happened with michele bachmann has been other republicans taking her lead on things. she's been the first republican, for example, who said there was a slush fund in obama care, in the affordable care act. she was the first republican who said we need to all commit to repealing it and then they had a vote on repealing it. the trend has been to follow her lead. everyone laughs awkwardly and doesn't say that she's the top of the -- the front of the pack, and then does basically what she'd been saying. and certainly if you look at tim pawlenty, who probably loses the most from bachmann getting all this publicity because he's from her state, he announced this week, he has a similar path to victory in the primaries, or at least in a couple of states. one republican strategist was telling me today he's basically is trying to out whatever the other candidate is. he was trying to outgingrich gingrich. he now might have to outbachmann bachmann. and that's going to have an impact on what everyone else does. >> now to the final quick assessment question. i'm absolutely certain and have been from the start that sarah
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palin is way too smart to run for president because she knows she would lose and she would then use all the power, theoretical power that she has. is michele bachmann smart enough to not run for president? >> you know, when she -- she's been in congress a few terms. early in the last term she was going to seminars hosted by ron paul. remember, ron paul ran for president, didn't win. built a very big following around his ideas, his issues. and we all remember his -- helped get his son elected to a senate seat. that's a pretty good record of success for running a presidential campaign that didn't succeed. so i think a lesson that she could have reasonably taken is that if you run from the house, no one thinks you can win, you can bring everyone over to your ideology and that's a pretty big win. >> thank you, dave weigel, for that word of encouragement for michele bachmann to run for president. you get it. you know how to do this segment. msnbc contributor and political reporter for slate, dave weigel. thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, maine governor
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paul lapage-s joining his fellow republican governors in the fight against big labor. his big move, removing a mural depict maine's manufacturing history. that's right, a mural. as in a piece of art. that's what he's at war with. that's coming up. >> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small es, public, privat even hybd. your data and apps must move easily and securely to reach many clouds, not just one. that's why the network that connects, protects, and lets your data move fearlessly through the clouds means more than ever.
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maine governor paul lepage made a name for himself when he told president obama to "kiss my butt." now the tea party-backed governor is ordering the removal of a mural that represents the historical accomplishments of his state's labor force. he says the painting is offensive to business owners. that's coming up. and the governor of new york has something much more serious
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on his mind in the aftermath of the nuclear power plant crisis in japan. the possibility of a nuclear meltdown. that's ahead in the "rewrite." we put almost three million americans to work... ...adding nearly 400 billion dollars to the economy. generated over two and a half million kilowatts of electricity... ...enough energy to power a quarter of america. we gave your kids a cleaner ride to school. kept the lights on during a calm day at the wind farm. heated 57 million u.s. homes. simmered grandma's chicken noodle soup. melted tons of recycled glass. roasted millions of coffee beans. provided electricity for nearly 29 million home computers. heated your bathwater. cooked your takeout. lit your way home. we helped america import less of its energy. cleared the air by burning cleaner than other fuel sources, with less pollutants and no mercury. and tomorrow, we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today.
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learn more at time for tonight's "rewrite." after this show repeatedly stressing the dangers posed to the most densely populated place in this country within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant, specifically the indian point power plant in new york, comes a letter from the governor of new
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york to the chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission demanding that the nrc reconsider the license renewal procedures for that plant with specific attention to "age-related structural degradation of fixed, non-moving components, like the reactor core, containment systems, pipes, and electrical cables, but do not specifically include factors relevant to the avoidance of catastrophe, such as location of the plant and population density, security and susceptibility to a terrorist attack, adequacy of emergency warning and evacuation plans, and geographic and seismic issues." it is that letter that actually needs to be rewritten. in the simplest possible ways. it needs to have the date changed to today, and it needs to be resent, as andrew cuomo's signature as governor.
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he in fact sent the letter on november 15th, 2007 over his signature as the attorney general of new york. of new york state politicians only andrew cuomo's father, mario cuomo, as governor of new york, was as vigilant on the subject of nuclear power plant safety. the governors cuomo, father and son, are not alarmists. they are careful thinkers about public policy. and on nuclear power plant safety they have been unable to ignore the obvious, as so many other politicianss that there is no viable evacuation plan for the 50-mile radius surrounding the indian point nuclear power plant. should there be a fukushima-like incident at that plant or any radiological event of any kind
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at that plant that would require any form of evacuation, chaos, utter chaos would break out in a three-state area immediately. no governor can reasonably sit back and cross his fingers and hope it doesn't happen on his watch. the last thing politicians ever want to do is scare people. nothing andrew cuomo is saying about nuclear power plant safety is going to make him more popular. what you're seeing here is something you may not recognize since it occurs so rarely. it is simply political bravery. >> let's get the information. this is an emotional topic. we want to make sure that before we reach any decisions we have the facts and they are solid facts. questions such as what is the seismic risk for that facility?
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if there is a significant risk, can it be mitigated? i would like to read you from a letter that i sent to the nrc, if i might. "the nrc's failure to consider safety issues in the reliancing of nuclear power plants is dangerously irresponsible, especially after a recent earthquake in japan forced the emergency shutdown of the world's largest nuclear plant and resulted in the release of radioactive material into the air and water. this letter signals our call for the nrc to thoroughly review terrorism vulnerability, seismic issues, and other significant concerns in the relicensing process." i sent that letter to the nrc,
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maine's tea party-backed governor paul lepage made headlines when he told president obama to go to hell and then again when he said the naacp could "kiss my butt."
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he has now essentially sent the same message to his state's workers. governor lepage ordered the removal of an offensive mural in maine's labor department lobby. offensive because it depicts maine's manufacturing heritage and women ship builders in wartime as well as the adversities workers overcame in the last centuries such as dangerous working conditions, long working hours, and child labor. the government said that some of his state's business leaders are offended by the mural. perhaps the same leaders who are pushing him to roll back maine's child labor laws. no, seriously, this guy's opposed to maine's child labor laws. governor lepage recently revealed that when he was a kid he used to hide and steal halloween candy from other children. which makes it even less surprising that he has also proposed that public employees
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pay more into their pension funds but of course exempts himself. the benefit cuts will pay for cutting taxes to the state's wealthiest residents. joining me now is matt schloboem, executive director of the afl-cio in pain main. thanks for joining us tonight, matt. >> great to be with you. >> matt, a labor department's job of course is to improve labor conditions over time, come up with things like child labor laws. what is depicted in that mural, as i've seen it, is what a labor department is actually designed to do, making it a really not very shocking mural to see on the walls of a labor department. does the governor understand what the labor department actually does in his state? >> i don't with working families than he is in solving the problems that the state faces and in creating the
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jobs that working people need. this mural tells the story ship shops and mills and scores of other industries and trades. this mural tells their story. it's a story that deserves to be told. it's a story we should be proud of. and it's a story that deserves to have a place on the walls of the department of labor. >> does he have some other proposal, something else he would like to see on that wall? >> he said generically maybe we should have mountains or something more neutral. we think this is kind of ridiculous. it's insulting to working people in the state. it seems like a very petty and mean-spirited act. and we should be focused on much more important issues. and we also think it's a troubling sign in a democratic side when the state starts to take down the artwork of particular groups of people, when it starts to try to erase the history of particular groups of people. that's not a good sign, and it's not a sign of a healthy democracy.
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and maine people, frankly, deserve better. >> now, matt, you know what 49 states are wondering right now. they're worngd how did this guy, how did this guy become the governor of maine? maine is not known for crazy politicians being elected statewide. he won with 38% of the vote, didn't he? >> he did. he did not have a majority. and the way that he's governing is such that it's alienating a large chunk of the population. you know, he's pursuing an agenda that seems much more interested in serving corporate campaign donors than it is in doing what's best for working people. we should be laser focused in this state on creating jobs and rebuilding an economy that works for everybody and restoring the middle class. but instead we have a governor that's pursuing a budget that's balanced on the backs of workers, that is attacking their pensions, that's undermining the rights of unions,